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thalweg (TAHL-veg, -vek) noun

1. A line, as drawn on a map, connecting the lowest points of a valley.

2. The middle of the main navigable channel of a waterway that serves as a boundary line between states.

[From German, equivalent to Thal, now obsolete spelling of tal, valley + weg, way.]

"Five others and I have been detailed to Los Trancos Creek, a major tributary of the San Francisquito, to prepare a Thalweg profile." Edwin Kiester, Jr., A creek defies the odds, Smithsonian, Dec 1997.

This week's theme: words that make one say, I didn't know there was a word for that.


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